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Hornets new head man Jac Sperling says it’s all about New Orleans

Dec 8, 2010, 8:45 AM EDT

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Jac Sperling was born in New Orleans. He gets the city. He has a good gumbo recipe.

The NHL executive’s new job is heading up the Hornets. And he told the Associated Press it is all about keeping the Hornets in the Big Easy. If he can.

“I grew up here. (David Stern) asked me to help,” Sperling said. “Read into that what you want, but I think the commissioner, he’s been very positive about this city going back to when the team was awarded in 2002, (then moving the team back from Oklahoma City) after Katrina … and also the awarding of the 2008 All-Star game.

“We’re in a difficult spot, yes, but I think his selection of me is a further indication of what is in his mind. He wants to try to make this asset more attractive so perhaps a local buyer will step up.”

The NBA keeps talking that talk. But if I were cynical I would note that Sperling brokered the sale of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks to Henry and Susan Samueli. He’s tight with them. And I’d note that the Samueli’s have talked about getting an NBA team in the Honda Center. And… well, good thing I’m not cynical like that.

Sperling’s main first job is to get the Hornets in a better financial position, as they are bleeding money. That means trying to find better and larger corporate partners, selling some more seats and trying to get blood out of the turnip that is the Louisiana state government right now.

You can’t keep the Hornets in the Big Easy unless you can make the finances better. Unless that is not the plan. But that would be cynical to say.

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